In May 2021, the new CEO will succeed Jean-Paul Agon, who has been Chief Executive since 2006.

The board of directors of the world’s biggest cosmetics company has recently announced the nomination of a new Chief Executive Officer, Mr Nicolas Hieronimus (56 years old). He will succeed Mr Jean-Paul Agon, who has been CEO since 2006, will still have a permanent role in L’Oréal, as board chairman, a position that he has held since 2011.

Jean-Paul Agon Copyrights: Thomas Laisné – La Company L’Oréal

Several candidates have been interviewed by the board who has been working on this succession for more than 18 months. Sophie Bellon, an independent director who heads the appointments and governance committee, said: “Nicolas Hieronimus emerged as the most legitimate candidate”

Mr Hieronimus is a genuine L’Oréal man and has spent his entire carrier within the firm. In 2017 he was named Deputy Chief Executive in charge of the group’s luxury, skincare, and professional divisions, which bring in about 45% of sales.

He will take over in difficult times because, after years of strong growth boosted by a successful expansion into China, L’Oréal’s momentum has been abruptly stopped by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Sales at the French company fell 11.7 per cent in the first half of the year to €13bn. Net profit fell by 13 per cent to €2.1bn.

During 2020, widely spread concerns about the virus, have induced consumers to avoid stores causing a dramatic fall in sales. It is true to say that at the same time e-commerce sales jumped by 65 per cent , but that was not enough to compensate the lower demand that was registered at a global level. Experts’ theories explain that, as a consequence of the pandemic,
the consumers are considering most of cosmetic products as superfluous when people are often stuck at home.

To counterbalance the market trend, L’Oréal has been performing many product launches and marketing campaigns in the attempt to boost sales.
On the employment side L’Oréal, which counts about 88,000 workers worldwide, has recently announced it would lay off about 400 people and close some stores belonging to its luxury business operation in the US.

Until now, the stock market has been positive as L’Oréal shares have risen almost 10 per cent this year, but the announced departure of the CEO was rising concerns about the future performance of the shares.
Now most analysts seem confident that this news should be reassuring in granting a high level of continuity and helping to alleviate concerns that the new CEO would bring any big change in strategy.

Main Photo Credits: Nicolas Hieronimus Copyrights Jean-Baptiste Huynh L’Oréal